The Metropolitan Police has released a statement after the alleged leak of sensitive information following a National Security Council meeting.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of the Met’s Specialist Operations, said:
“I have spoken to the Cabinet Office regarding the nature of the material that was discussed in the National Security Council.
“This material was used to inform a discussion, the outcome of which was subsequently disclosed to the media.
“I am satisfied that what was disclosed did not contain information that would breach the Official Secrets Act.
“I have considered all the information available to me and I have taken legal advice.
“I am satisfied that the disclosure did not amount to a criminal offence, either under the Official Secrets Act or Misconduct in Public Office. No crime has been committed and this is not a matter for the police.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) takes responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act.
Assistant Commissioner Basu Continued:
“Any organisation has the right to conduct an internal investigation into conduct in the workplace.
“It is not a matter for the police unless a crime is alleged.
“At no time have the police been provided with evidence by the Cabinet Office that a crime has been committed nor has it been suggested that a Gateway process would be required to enable that determination to be made.
“No crime has been alleged by the owner of the material and I am clear that the leak did not cause damage to the public interest at a level at which it would be necessary to engage Misconduct in Public Office.
“It would be inappropriate to carry out a police investigation in these circumstances.”
When an allegation made against the Official Secrets Act involves Government, there is an agreed mechanism through a formal Gateway Process for the police to assess information available in order to consider whether to conduct a criminal investigation into potential criminal offences including those under the Official Secrets Act and Misconduct in Public Office.